The Retail Manager's Guide to Crime and Loss Prevention

By George J. Okaty, CPP

The Retail Manager's Guide to Crime and Loss Prevention. By Liz Martinez; published by Looseleaf Law Publications, 800/647-5547 (phone), (Web); 201 pages; $29.95.

 Retail loss prevention measures are equally important to mom-and-pop stores and major retail chains, but smaller operations may lack the resources to hire a full-time security professional. Here, author Liz Martinez focuses on smaller and less sophisticated retailers that have little or no corporate loss prevention support. The book can be used as a primer for law enforcement crime prevention officers or as an aid to security professionals who wish to develop presentations for independent retail business owners. However, the author doesn't address in a meaningful way organizational security issues either in a multistore environment or in a corporate environment where a retail operation is an auxiliary company consideration.

Chapters cover such topics as cash register practices, check-cashing procedures, and armed robbery. Although the treatment is not detailed, the format is clear and the material is easy to read, which makes it useful as an outline for in-service presentations to retail staff.

The book ably addresses loss prevention issues involving risk management concerns, such as insurance practices, as well as human relations issues involving sexual harassment and workplace violence. And the discussion of security features incorporated into credit cards and currency is a handy reference for retailers.

Other areas lack important material. Noticeably absent from the discussion of employee background checks is reference to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. All employers and security professionals need to be familiar with this legislation, given that it affects how companies can perform investigations.

Martinez encourages managers and owners to develop security and loss prevention procedures, providing a list of resources that includes checklists from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on workplace violence policies and a model policy on sexual harassment from an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department. The resources are helpful, but the author missed the opportunity to present retail-specific examples. While security professionals probably wouldn't learn much from this book, storeowners and retail managers will find a succinct overview of important retail security issues.

Reviewer: George J. Okaty, CPP, is a former security director for a retail chain. He is currently the director of protective services for the Southwest Texas Methodist Hospital in San Antonio. He has taught for several years as an adjunct instructor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is a member of ASIS International.



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